Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

A Drive to Taos on Sunday Morning

Santa Fe has been cold and windy but on Sunday morning the sun emerged and I did, too. I drove to Taos and back in the morning, just to see the Rio Grande curve with the mountains, to view wild sky extend forever, to feel my small place in the midst of it all.

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein


Must Be Fall in New Mexico

Fruit stands along the highway are strung with ristras and sit chock full of tomatoes and squash and chiles.


Marigolds are strung, ready to decorate your fence, your house, and you.


Chamisa add splashes of gold on every turn.


Sunflowers have turned to birdseed and the pumpkins are waiting to be carved.

Must be Fall in New Mexico.




“In the room with the periodic tables on the wall, Barry Lopez said we are all pattern makers, and if our patterns are beautiful and full of grace they will be able to bring a person for whom the world has become broken and disorganized up off his knees and back to life.”

From Contents May Have Shifted by Pam Houston

Ten Thousand Flowers in Spring, The Moon in Autumn

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

Wu Men (1183-1260)

A Trip to Pecos

Pecos Wilderness

Between Santa Fe and Las Vegas, New Mexico, sits the small village of Pecos at the site of an historic mountain pass. You can add your footprint to those of the ancient Indian tribes, Spanish settlers, Santa Fe Trail traders and Route 66 speeders who have passed through this 223,000 acres of wilderness. The area offers fly fishing, camping and hiking with views of mountains, lakes and meadows.

Monastery Lake

Leave your electronics and worried minds in the car. Listen. Look. Know you are a part of it all.

Aspens and Big

Please do not forget to extinguish your campfire.  Thanks to Catherine Trapani for the use of her photographs.

In the Beginning

Santa Fe SkyOn my first trip to Santa Fe from my home in Atlanta, I rediscovered stars. Walking around the Plaza that first night, I looked up and was flabbergasted to see all the constellations of my childhood: the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, a million stars sparkling against a navy sky. They had been hiding behind city lights and pollution all along.

My second trip two years later was prompted by a chance encounter in a local book store with Stanley Crawford’s book  A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm. Since at least half the people in Santa Fe believe little is by chance, I will amend that to say as if led by a divining rod, I was pulled to Stan’s book during one particularly frenetic Saturday. In the late 1960s, Stan and wife Rose Mary traded city  life for two acres off a dirt road in Dixon, 50 miles north of Santa Fe. The book is about growing garlic and building a meaningful life founded on community.

You  won’t see trendy SUVs or a Whole Foods parking lot packed with women in yoga pants in Dixon, but there is an abandoned gas station on the right which manages to look charming rather than frightening, a gallery, and a community library next to the  grocery co-op. If you meander long enough, you will find Stanley and Rose Mary’s El Bosque Garlic Farm as I did that second trip.

Like a stalker I sat in my rental car and looked at every visible inch of their  property:  their home built with handmade adobe bricks, flourishing vegetables, and rows of garlic. The place existed so I had hope the way of life might as well.

The next day under an impossibly blue sky,  I headed for the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market.  Half way down the aisle I spotted the face on the book jacket standing behind bins of garlic. We chatted  long enough for me to purchase three heads of garlic for less than a dollar. I took the garlic home, roasted two of the heads and set the other one on a small plate for inspiration. It’s a wonder I didn’t  light a candle next to it.

Six years later I moved to Santa Fe for a one year telecommute to my job with CNN in Atlanta. Almost 15 years later now I never left, although I did leave CNN.  Most Saturdays  I walk the four blocks to the Farmers’ Market now housed in its own building in the Railyard District. I walk down the first crowded aisle with farmers selling greens, flowers, cheese and jars of jelly, stopping to say hello and buying what captures my imagination. Stan and Rose Mary’s stand is half way down on the left.  Each time Stan hands me my three heads of garlic and I hand Stan my change, the moment is never lost on me. Stan, he has no idea.